The Pennsylvania Derby Wayne was a career changer for Joseph

It doesn’t matter if coach Savi Joseph Jr. wins the G1 Pennsylvania Derby two, four, or even six times.

His first victory in the million dollar stakes for 3-year-olds in PARKS RACE It will always be the most important to him.

For his victory in the 2019 edition with math wizard It was so much more than your stunning 31-1 victory and the gradual initial stakes of a young coach.

It was a breakthrough moment on the national stage as the then 32-year-old rookie coach featured in South Florida.

Show a national television audience how Joseph can turn a $25,000 claim for owner John Vanelli into a top-tier runner capable of beating a Preakness Stakes (G1) winner.

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He showed his love for the sport with tears in his eyes as he spoke with raw emotion about winning in the winner’s circle.

Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Math Wizard wins the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing

It was one of the few races I couldn’t imagine winning, but it all went well. Joseph (Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.) said Math Wizard gave a great ride and ran the horse of his life’s race. “God bless us. It was an unforgettable moment.”

And other owners’ eyes were opened hoping for a poverty-to-riches story with one of their horses.

“We were winning races before (the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby), but that was top class for me and he won the top seed here,” Joseph said of Stadion. “He got attention because it was on national television and we beat some very good horses.” Including the winner of the Preakness Stakes (G1) war of will And the Improbable the favorite hit in both the Kentucky Derby given by Woodford Reserve (G1) and the Preaks and the older male champ a year later, and spun to run , winner of the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Dirt Mile (G1) Cup less than two months later. “Winning the Pennsylvania Derby helped us bring in the quality horses we needed to keep winning in the First Division stakes.”

Math Wizard in the ring before winning the 40th Pennsylvania Derby (GI) Derby Runway at Parx on September 21, 2019
Photo: Chad B Harmon

Saffie Joseph (far right) with Math Wizard in the ring before the 2019 Pennsylvania Derby

Joseph’s journey by elevator to the upper floors of his career will be reflected on September 24 when he returns to the Pennsylvania Derby for the first time since 2019 not one of 11 rookie players. He did not win the West Virginia Derby (G3) Skippylongstocking Nor the Curlin Florida Derby presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Xalapa (G1) White Abarrio He was favored in the 1/8 1/8 seven-mile Test, but that didn’t stop Joseph in 2019. And the long odds the Barbados-born coach faced early in his US years couldn’t derail his career.

“There are a lot of good coaches out there, and as a coach you can only prove yourself when you get the chance,” Joseph said. “The Pennsylvania Derby gave me that opportunity.”

The stats paint a vivid picture of how 2019 will change the rules of the game or, better yet, change Joseph’s career.

His career was already on the way up in 2019 as he went from 35 wins in 2017 to 57 in 2018. In 2019, he finished his career with 95 wins. It jumped to 128 and in 2021 it jumped to 201.

His earnings have also gone from just $1,280,403 in 2018 to $4,994,188 in 2020 and nearly double that, to $9,066,6060 in 2021. With three full months remaining from The race in 2022 earned $7,979,732 with 132 wins.

“We try to make the most of every horse we get and value every horse that is given to us, be it high or low. We enjoy working with franchisees as much as we enjoy betting horses. The same satisfaction and disappointment with them all,” Youssef said.

His stable expanded from 35 in 2019 to its current figure of 150, and his operation, which was based only in South Florida, now also includes chains in New York and Kentucky. Moreover, the increase affected the quantity and quality of his inventory. While Math Wizard was the first tiered bet winner—and only one in 2019—he now has 21 graded stakes in North America, including four first grade wins with four different horses.

“We’re getting better quality horses now,” Joseph said. “We’re not getting the best horses, but we’re making the most of what we’ve got. We’re grateful for that.”

Joseph’s success story certainly resonated with Daniel Alonso, who owns Skippylongstocking. A couple of years ago, a lifelong Miami resident, Alonso was looking to upgrade his Florida stable and Joseph was the obvious choice for him.

Skippylongstocking Wins 2022 West Virginia Derby at Mountaineer
Photo: Coady Photography

Skippylongstocking won the West Virginia Derby at the Mountaineer

The 48-year-old, who works in commercial real estate, said Alonso. “I thought it was the best option in Florida.”

Alonso has five horses with Joseph and “Skippy” is the jewel. Son exaggerated Purchased for just $37,000 from Top Line Sales in Spring Sales for Ocala Breeders 2-Year-Olds in After Sales Training for $15,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Heading to the first grade test on Saturday, the third grade winner born in Brushy Hill scored a 3-1-3 out of 12 starts with a winnings of $672,600.

“Working with my class has been great,” Alonso said. “He’s fairly young in the field but very professional and he’s a straight shooter. He doesn’t shoot your ass. He lets you know what he’s thinking and I appreciate that. It’s a pleasure working with him,” Alonso continued.

Aside from winning the West Virginia Derby, Skippylongstocking ran in two feet of the Triple Crown: The Preakness (fifth) and Belmont Stakes presented by the NYRA Bets (G1), where he finished third.

“I can’t say enough about Skippylongstocking,” said Joseph. “We bought it cheap on sale for $37,000 and it’s getting better and better, and every time we run it, it tries really hard.” “He was the first horse to be put into a classic game for me and I will always remember that, and to see him win the West Virginia Derby was such a satisfying moment for everyone, including the horse. He deserved to be graded the winner of the bets. You have to appreciate the horse that tries so hard. Like him. You can’t teach that. A horse either has it or doesn’t have it.”

Joseph, who managed the White Abarrio in the Kentucky Derby (16th place), was also one of only two coaches to have had a starting player on all three legs of the Triple Crown, joining Ken McPeek. For both coaches, it reflected a deviation from the trend that has made shrinking field volumes on tiered stakes an epidemic on the main tracks.

“If the horse is ready,” Joseph said, “we’ll take a chance.” “You can’t win a race unless you’re in it.”

White Apario won the 2022 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park
Photo: Coglianese Photos / Ryan Thompson

White Abario takes the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park

Although C2 Racing Stable and White Abarrio of La Milagrosa Stable come in a poor seventh place in TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1), he was second in the Ohio Derby (G3) on his earlier start. gray son of Race day Bred by Spendthrift Farm it also provided the coach with another memorable moment with his Florida Derby points total.

“White Abarrio was our first grader winner in Florida. It meant a lot,” Joseph said of his $936,150 salary. “On that day at the Florida Derby, I remember looking at charge it (which was the second). It was twice the size of White Abarrio. Then you look at the value of the two horses. We bought White Abarrio for $40,000 and before that he sold it for $7,500. Charge will probably be worth millions, but that’s the great thing about racing and what gives everyone hope. You can compete against the elite and win.”

As much as winning is now a staple in Joseph’s life, it hasn’t always been this way.

The son of a father and grandfather who were successful coaches in his native Barbados, Joseph began coaching at the age of 18 and in 2009, at 22, became the youngest coach to win the country’s Triple Crown title.

This success sparked the desire to move to the United States in 2011, although some members of his family were against it.

“My father (my class Joseph Sr.) thought it was a wrong move,” Joseph said.

After five seasons of toiling in Florida and winning no more than 19 races a year from 2011 to 2016, Joseph had fewer than ten horses. Most of them were family owned and he started thinking about coming home.

“I was young and a little crazy when I came to the States,” he said. I was chasing a dream. I wanted to get to the top. But then you get here and the truth begins. Nobody knows anything about you. Nobody cares about you. You have to start over. I started with two horses here. It was hard. It took us about seven years to really take off. Some people view us as an overnight success but they’ve lost all the hard work that’s been done.”

He then had a fateful discussion with his now 71-year-old father.

“It’s been year five or six here and I thought ‘that doesn’t make sense.’ We were spending all this money and getting nothing. It’s time to go back to Barbados. But my dad turned to me and said, ‘We can’t go back.'” We’ve come so far to come back.’ It meant a lot to me to have that kind of support from my dad, who was originally against me coming here, and he gave me so much confidence. The experience builds the character and everything improves after that.”

About five years after that conversation, Joseph’s voice still rose with emotion as he remembered it. As much as obscurity climbed to No. 10 in North America by earnings last year, it’s still modest and still remembers all the hard work and support that came out of it.

It was not an easy path to success for Saffie Joseph Jr. , but thanks to Math Wizard and the Pennsylvania Derby, he’s actually been able to travel along it.

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